December 11, 2016

Dal Pancharathan / Five Lentil Curried Dal

How to make Dal Pancharathan / Five Lentil Curried Dal



                  Here's a delightful five lentil dal all the way from Rajasthan. This is also a no onion-no garlic recipe if you are looking for one. The main flavors in this dal are from the tomatoes & the aromatic spices. Serve it with phulkas, rice or just serve it as a soup, that is sure you fill you up in a healthy way. 



Soaking time: 3 hours
Serves: 4-6 people

Ingredients:

Masoor Dal - 1/4 cup
Moong Dal - 1/4 cup
Toor Dal - 1/4 cup
Channa Dal - 1/4 cup
Whole Urad dal - 1/4 cup
Chopped tomatoes - 3 no:s
Salt to taste
Garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Chili powder - 1/4 to 1/2 tsp


For seasoning:

Ghee - 2 tbsp
Jeera - 1 tsp
Elaichi/Cardamom pods - 3 no:s
Dry red chilli - 1 no:
Lavang/Cloves - 4 no:s
Asafoetida powder - 1/2 tsp
Slit green chilli - 2 nos:
Julienned ginger - 2 inch piece

For garnishing:

Chopped coriander leaves
Julienned ginger



Stove top method:

  • Wash & soak the dals for a minimum of 3 hours, preferably in the refrigerator; or soak overnight. Pressure cook for about 10 whistles or until cooked soft.
  • Heat a kadai with ghee, add the broken red chilli, jeera, elaichi, cloves & fry until crisp & aromatic. Add the asafoetida, green chilli & ginger - saute for a few seconds. 
  • Add tomatoes, salt, chilli powder, turmeric powder & cook until the tomatoes are starting to get mushy & ghee floats on top.
  • Add garam masala powder, cooked dal mixture and some water for consistency. Let it simmer for a few minutes on low heat.
  • Serve hot with a lavish sprinkle of chopped coriander leaves & julienned ginger.

Sharing this quick recipe I had noted down in my recipe diary from a tv show, with my fellow bloggers at CCC# 39: Dec -- Week 2


November 28, 2016

Eggless Lime Shortbread Trees

How to bake Lime Shortbread Trees (eggless)






Prep 1 hour 15 minutes
Bake 12-15 minutes per batch
Cool 10 minutes per batch
Makes 30 cookies

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup butter, softened
½ cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons finely shredded lime peel
¼ teaspoon salt
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup powdered sugar
Milk - as needed
Green food colouring (optional)
Small decorative candies




METHOD

1. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the ½ cup powdered sugar, the lime peel, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in flour until dough just comes together. Divide dough in half. If necessary, cover and chill dough for 30 minutes or until it is easy to handle.

2. Preheat oven to 160°C/325°F. On a large ungreased cookie sheet, place the dough; place a sheet of wax paper on top & roll half of the dough into a 13x4-inch rectangle. Do not roll the dough thin or cookies will crumble easily.

3. Score with a long knife (in the shape of multiple X's ) to make medium sized tall triangles. Remove dough scraps. Make small triangles from the dough scraps & place them at the bottom of the trees as trunks. Repeat the process until all of the dough is used up. 
                                                                                OR
 Use X'mas tree cookie cutter, after rolling out the dough into the cookie sheet. Remove dough scraps. Roll dough & repeat the process until all of the dough is turned into trees. 

4. Bake about 12 minutes or until edges just begin to brown. While still hot, re-cut trees with the long sharp knife. Cool on cookie sheet for 10 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.

5. For icing, in a small bowl stir together the 1 cup powdered sugar and enough milk, 1 to 2 teaspoons at a time, to make an icing of spreading consistency. Remember the 10 second rule - If you score the icing with a knife, the line should be covered up within 10 seconds. If it's too runny, add more powdered sugar. If desired, divide the icing into 2 bowls & tint some of the icing with green food colouring. Spread icing on cookies; decorate with small candies. 

To Make Ahead and Store: Layer unfrosted cookies between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw cookies, if frozen. Ice cookies as directed.

Notes:

  • It may seem strange to roll the cookie dough directly on the sheet, but in this case, doing so helps you create extra-tender cookies. 

This recipe is from 'Better Homes and Gardens Very Merry Cookies' cookbook. Linking this with my friends at Sri Valli's CCC# 38: November -- Week 4.

November 13, 2016

Kathrikai Podi Kari (Stir fried eggplant with lentils & spices)

How to make Kathrikai Podi Kari


                    This no onion-no garlic recipe is from my recipe diary, duly noted down from a tv show years ago. You can skip the microwave cooking & do it completely in your skillet. I find that the microwave cooking cuts down on the amount of oil used, & yet providing the same results for a dry curry. The coarseness of the ground spices can be your preference. I prefer the crunchiness of the lentils in a bite; some of you may like it better with finely ground spices. However you choose to make it, the spices definitely make it special. Sharing this recipe with my fellow bloggers at CCC# 38: November -- Week 2.








Ingredients:


Kathrikai/Eggplant - 250 gms, sliced
Salt - to taste
Oil - 2 tbsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp


Ingredients for frying & powdering:

Perungayam/Asafoetida - a big pinch
Ulutham paruppu/Urad dal - 1/2 tbsp
Kadalai paruppu/Channa dal - 1/2 tbsp
Dry red chillies - 2 no:s
Grated coconut - 3 tbsp



Microwave + Stove top method:

  • Slice the brinjals & let them sit in a container with water, until you are ready to cook them.
  • Arrange the sliced eggplants on a wide plate, sprinkle salt & turmeric powder on them; cover with a wet paper towel/cloth & microwave on high for about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the cloth, take another plate of the same size - holding it tight on top of the hot plate; flip it quickly so the eggplants are transferred to the new plate, sprinkle a little more salt & turmeric powder on top, cover with a wet cloth/paper towel & microwave again for 5 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, heat a pan on (low-medium heat) with a little oil, add the ingredients listed for frying in the same order & roast them in oil until aromatic & crisp. Let cool, powder & set aside.
  • Heat the pan with the remaining oil, add the semi-cooked brinjal slices from the microwave, add required salt, turmeric powder, the ground powder & stir fry until well roasted.
  • Serve warm with a meal platter. Goes well with Sambhar rice, Rasam rice.



September 18, 2016

Spiced Watermelon Juice

How to make Spiced Watermelon Juice


            Watermelon juice is good enough, without any additives. If you are tired of the same old sweetened juice; here's a watermelon juice with a kick that you are sure to love. The chaat masala, black salt, white pepper powder & lemon juice in this juice, tones down the sweetness of the fruit & add different flavors to make it more interesting to your palate. This was the first juice, that I ever learnt how to make; probably during middle school years, probably from one of my friend's mom. 

               I prefer to drink the juice with the pulp, for added fiber in my diet. If you prefer, you can filter the pulp out & get a crisp & clear juice to quench your thirst. My first pic, shows juice without pulp & my second pic, shows juice with the pulp. Take note that the pulp tends to stay on top. Sharing this quick & easy recipe, with my friends over at CCC #37 :September Week 3.







Makes 1 tall glass

3 cups watermelon, cubed
Lemon Juice -1/2 tsp
Chaat masala - 1/4 tsp
Black salt - 1/4 tsp
White pepper powder - 1/8 tsp
Sugar - if needed
Ice cubes (optional)





Method:


  • In a blender, add the watermelon cubes & blend well, without adding any water. Add the chaat masala, black salt, white pepper powder, lemon juice & sugar if needed; 
  • Pour the watermelon juice in tall glass. add ice cubes if desired.
  • Garnish with some mint leaves & serve cold.

September 4, 2016

Paal Kozhukattai (Wheat flour balls cooked in sweetened coconut milk)

How to make (wheat flour) Paal Kozhukattai


                Here is an all time south indian favorite, esp during Pillayar/Ganesh Chathurthi, only better with wheat flour instead of rice and the addition of sugar to the dough ties it in with the sweetened milk. Thus filling your mouth with some sweetness, even when you bite into the soft balls. Cos' I've tried a few recipes where the milk by itself is delicious, but the balls are just bland with no sweetness whatsoever.  Do try this version, and you will love it. 

                  The playdough Ganesh was a last minute daring attempt & luckily, I remembered the steps I learnt at a workshop the previous year. I'm posting a picture of my skinny Ganesha, for any of you,who wants to give a shot at making one at home with your kids playdough or clay. Have fun unleashing your artistic skills during this festive time of the year.  Sending this entry to Srivalli's CCC #36 :September Week 1.




Ingredients for 8 to 10 servings:

1 cup powdered jaggery
1 cup boiled milk
1/2 coconut milk
1/2 cup ghee
10 cashew nuts, broken
1 tsp elaichi/cardamom powder
1.5 cups water

For making the dough:

1 cup wheat flour
1 tbsp rice flour
1 cup water
2 tbsp sugar
a pinch of salt



****************************************



Stove Top Method:

  • Fry the broken cashew nuts in a little ghee on low heat, until its golden in color.
  • Make a thin syrup with the jaggery, by adding a 1/4 cup of water to it and heating on a medium-low heat; until the jaggery dissolves. Filter the syrup & set aside.

  • Dry roast the wheat flour & rice flour, together in a dry pan on very low heat, until it gets hot & roasted. Take care, not to burn the flour.
  • Simultaneously, take about 1 cup of water, in a pan. Add 1 tbsp of ghee, salt and 2 tbsp of sugar to the water and heat covered until it begins to boil.
  • When the water boils briskly and the sugar has dissolved; turn off the heat, & add the roasted flour little at a time & stir with a wooden spatula; until you have dropped all the flour into the water. The end result should be a tight, clump free dough.
  • Transfer the dough onto a workable surface & knead it, as soon as it cools down a bit. spread some ghee on your hand, if needed & knead gently to make the dough smooth. Roll into small balls (about the size of a seedai or about the size of a small blueberry).

  • To cook the kozhukattai's, in a wide shallow pan, boil 1.5 cups of water, by closing the lid. When you see a rolling boil, add half of the rolled kozhukattai's into the water & close the lid again. After waiting for about 2 mins, add the remaining kozhukattai's and close the lid again for a total of 8 to 10 mins on medium heat. Intermittently, you can gently stir with a spatula, taking care not to break the balls.

  • Test a kozhukattai by piercing it with a toothpick in the center to check if it has cooked thoroughly.
  • Now add the jaggery syrup to the pan, gently mix & let it simmer for about a minute. Next add the milk and when it starts to boil add the coconut milk; and wait until the mixture starts to boil again. 

  • Remove from heat, add the cardamom powder and fried cashew nuts. Enjoy it warm or cold.



July 22, 2016

Kalyana Maangai Oorugai / Instant Mango Pickle

How to make Kalyana Maangai Oorugai / Instant Mango Pickle


                    This was the first pickle I learnt how to make - its that simple. If you have ever tasted this pickle (probably at a south indian wedding feast); it's just too hard to resist making this spicy instant pickle (unless raw mangoes are out of season). They are so easy to make, yet so satisfying with curd rice. The shelf life is about a week in the refrigerator, so plan accordingly, unless you are willing to share it ;o) Sharing this quick & delicious pickle from my recipe book with my friends at CCC# 34: July - Week 4.




Ingredients:

1 Raw (Sour/Unripe) Mango - Chopped very fine
Red Chilli powder - 3/4th to 1 Tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/8 Tsp
Salt to taste
Fenugreek seeds - 1/4 Tsp

For Tadka/Tempering:

Sesame Oil - 3 Tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 Tsp
1 or 2 dry red Chillies, broken
Asafoetida powder- 1/4 Tsp




Stove Top Method:

  • Wash the Mango - slice, julienne & chop as finely as possible and transfer to a bowl. 

  •  Dry roast the Fenugreek seeds until aromatic & golden (do not burn). Pound them with mortar and a pestle and set aside. 
  • To the finely chopped Mango, add the pounded Fenugreek powder, red Chilli powder, Salt & Turmeric powder.


  • Heat a mini kadai/wok with Sesame oil on low-medium heat - add the Mustard seeds. When they splutter, add broken red chilli and Asafoetida powder. Turn the heat off, once the chilli is fried and pour the Oil onto the bowl with the Mango and spices. 
  • Toss or mix in with a clean, dry spoon. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  • Serve with Curd/Yogurt rice or with your favorite meal.

Notes:

  • Use the Mango along with the skin.
  • Take care not to burn the fenugreek seeds, as they will turn very bitter, if  burnt.
  • Refrigerate, store in a glass container, tightly covered and use within a week's time.


July 10, 2016

Chocolate Cake with Beets

How to bake Chocolate Cake with Beets (Beetroot)



            I was pleasantly surprised by how this cake turned out. I truly felt this cake was a winner, when my kids could not figure out, what went into this cake. I guess the chocolate glaze makes all the difference (but that's also made with light cream!). The (2 cups) grated beets are a wonderful addition, adding nutritive value to this cake & a beautiful texture. Another good thing about this cake is that the cake itself can be made a day ahead & glazed just before serving. The cake becomes more moist and flavorsome if stored overnight in an airtight container. 

           If I make this cake again, I would use a little more sugar to make it a tad more sweeter, and also use melted butter instead of oil for a better flavor. But then again, that's just me. I think that kids approval by itself is an awesome indicator of how good this cake is. I added some chopped chocolate bars on the top to make it irresistible for my kids. If you are, make sure you add their favorite candy bars to lure them in. Sharing this healthy version of chocolate cake from the book Chocolate Divine Indulgence, with my friends at CCC #35 July - week 2.








Serves 8-10
Bake time : 1 hour

Ingredients for the cake:

1.5 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 teaspoon all spice/pumpkin spice powder
3 large eggs
1 cup, firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups, peeled & coarsely grated beets (beetroot)

Ingredients for the chocolate glaze:

5 ounces (150  g) semisweet chocolate chips/grated chocolate (1 cup)
1/3 cup (90 ml) light (single) cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract



Method:

For the cake:-

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F (170°C). Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan. Line the base with parchment paper.

  • Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, & all spice/pumpkin spice powder into a bowl.

  • Beat the eggs, brown sugar, sour cream, oil & vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, beat in the flour mixture. Stir in the beets by hand.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top, if needed.

  • Bake for an hour, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. let cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack & let cool completely, before glazing.

For the chocolate glaze:-

  • Melt the chocolate, cream & vanilla in a double boiler over barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat & set aside to cool.
  • Spread the glaze over the cake, allowing it to dribble down the sides. Slice & serve with a topping of your choice.


NOTES:

  • Wash, peel, Cube & run the beets in a food processor or chopper for easy grating.
  • Trace the bottom of the baking pan on the parchment paper, with a pencil. Fold the paper, twice so that the circumference of the circle aligns neatly, cut with a scissor to get your lining for the pan.

July 2, 2016

Sparkling Citrus Punch (Non-Alcoholic)

How to make Non-Alcoholic, Sparkling Citrus Punch



          Come summer, and all I crave for is something light & refreshing to drink. The thick beverages like smoothies, and ice-cream shakes that struggle to climb up the straw to quench my parched throat, are just not liquid enough to be my summer drink. Infact, the sad truth is that I miss my Indian fresh fruit juices, which has more of the real fruit juice & less of everything else. The american fresh juices are too very diluted with ice, and barely fruity!! That's one of the reasons, I've added frozen fruits in both the recipes below, instead of ice cubes - so none of the fruity flavor is Lost in Dilution.




                     Double Recipe Alert - There are two recipes in this post. The Sparkling Citrus Punch requires sparkling fruit cider. If that is not easily accessible to you; then you can make the Sparkling Lemon Soda which is also an equally refreshing drink for the summer.



Recipe I - Non- Alcoholic Sparkling Citrus Punch


Ingredients for about 15 small servings:


1 lemon, sliced & frozen
1 lime, sliced & frozen
1 large orange, sliced & frozen
1/2 cup of frozen raspberries
1 (6 ounce) can frozen lemonade concentrate
1 liter chilled, club soda/seltzer water
2 (750ml) bottles of chilled, sparkling fruit cider (I used apple cider)
1 tablespoon white sugar
Ice cubes (optional)

Instructions for the Sparkling Citrus Punch:
              

  •  Just before serving, place all of the frozen fruits in the punch bowl.  Add the lemonade concentrate, club soda & sparkling fruit cider. Taste & add sugar if needed & serve cold. Add ice cubes to chill it again, if needed.


***************************************************************************************************

Recipe II - Sparkling Lemon Soda




Ingredients for 3 medium servings:

1/2 a lemon, sliced & frozen
1/2 a lime, sliced & frozen
1/2 an orange, sliced & frozen (Optional)
a handful of frozen raspberries
1 (6 ounce) can frozen lemonade concentrate
2 cups of chilled, club soda/seltzer water
Ice cubes (optional)

Instructions for the Sparkling Lemon Soda:


  •  Just before serving, place all of the frozen fruits in a pitcher.  Add the lemonade concentrate & club soda. Add ice cubes if needed.

Notes:

  • Addition of ice, will dilute the flavor of the drink. So, use sparingly if needed.
  • I used Apple cider & Apple-Peach cider for the punch.
  • If you have left overs & want to save the drink, make sure you fish out the citrus fruits and then refrigerate or else it might develop some bitterness.

June 25, 2016

Easy Milk Chocolate Fudge

How to make easy Milk Chocolate Fudge

                       
                     My li'l one is a fussy eater. Off late, he's started to like chocolate with no frills. I wanted to make chocolate fudge with nuts; but he will only eat plain chocolate fudge. You can guess the rest of the story here. I cut the fudge into tiny bite sized pieces, since we were having couple of friends over. I like tiny pieces of the sweet stuff, so I don't have to finish eating a large piece of something, just coz' I bit into it. Plus, we can always get seconds. So here's a recipe that you can whip up in under 30 minutes plus the setting time. Sharing this one with my friends over at CCC# 33: June -- Week 4.



Ingredients: 

3/4th cup of sugar (I used raw cane sugar)
1 can (13 oz) of sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup, unsalted butter
1 tsp, pure vanilla extract
4 oz (2/3rd cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips or grated chocolate
1/4 cup of your favorite nuts, chopped (Optional)






June 19, 2016

Masala Lemon Rice

How to make Masala Lemon Rice


              I usually make lemon rice, with green chillies & ginger (see recipe - Lemon-Lime Rice) which needs no grinding of ingredients. Once in a while, I like to make this masala lemon rice which has ground fenugreek seeds & red chillies in it for a different flavor. This lemon rice reminds me of the kovil prasadam aka temple offering, back home. So give this recipe a try and evoke nostalgic feelings of your temple visits. Sharing this recipe with my fellow bloggers at CCC# 33: June-Week 3.

          That makes me ponder - we hardly realize that the present moment is special, in that moment (during the actual experience). We yearn for it only after we lose it or go far away from the experience. And, when that happens, even a daily/ordinary happening becomes close to our heart and we long for that experience again. I'm beginning to understand the importance of all the spiritual quotes I've read about being fully present in the moment. 
                                                     
  Live in the present. - Dalai Lama

Wherever you are, be all there.  - Jim Elliot

Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. - Eckhart Tolle

The present moment is the only moment that's available to us, and it is the door to all available moments. - Thich Nhat Hanh






May 29, 2016

Thengai Podi /Spiced Coconut Powder

How to make Thengai Podi /Spiced Coconut Powder (Side for Tiffin/Rice)


            This is one of amma's eagerly awaited dishes because, it was only made when we had to pack food  to take along with us on long distance  train journeys. There was something special about those trips. We (me & my siblings) had nothing important to do for more than 24 hours, our only duties were eating, napping, chatting (in person - not online!!) with fellow  travellers & more eating from the food vendors through out the journey. We had minimal physical activity, yet the thought of the special meals packed by amma, would make our mouth water & sure enough we would be hungry on time. Mom pretty much made the same items for every trip, but whatever she made was always a hit with everyone. Her menu would include Idli, spicy tomato chutney, Tamarind rice, potato chips Curd rice, pickle,  Poori, this thengai podi/spiced coconut powder mixed with gingelly oil. Breakfast, lunch & dinner; all pre-packed meal wise for every member of the family, individually wrapped in plantain leaves & newspaper, secured with a twine with their names written on it.

          Oh the thought of it, brings back so many wonderful childhood memories. The simple joys of a minimalist life. No video games, no mobile phones, no ipods & headphones. We were each  allowed to buy a comic, before boarding the train; which we would exchange once we were done reading it. Or we would just sit by the open window & enjoy the (hot or cool) wind blowing on our face; only to find out after a few hours that our face & hair is covered with soot!! Remember the good old steam engines? Those carefree days of fun & frolic, a time when we enjoy everything under the sun. 

           Getting back to the recipe, please take caution, (as mentioned below) while grinding the coconut; so you don't end up with an oily paste. Enjoy your Thengai Podi/Coconut chutney powder with a drizzle of sesame/gingelly oil & some steamed idli, dosa varieties or steamed rice. Sharing one of my favorite recipes from mom with my fellow bloggers at CCC# 32: May -- Week 4.




Ingredients:

1 cup, Coprai/dehydrated coconut flakes
OR 
1.5 cups of fresh grated coconut
5 to 7 no:s, dry red chillies
Salt to taste
2 sprigs of curry leaves
a small marble sized ball of tamarind
1/8 tsp of asafoetida
1 tbsp, channa dal/bengal gram dal
1 tbsp, urad dal
1 tbsp, oil





May 22, 2016

Poosani kai/Ash gourd/Winter Melon Juice

How to make Poosani kai/Ash gourd/Winter Melon Juice


        If you are an avid cook, and you grew up watching your grandma/mom cook, you probably are going the Paleo way, unintentionally. Read the label on a packaged food that is purchased, chances are you will notice an extensive list of gmo, artificial ingredients & excessive amounts of sugar/salt hidden in every box. I have always been a fan of the Paleo template even before I knew the term - 'Paleo'. Call me old fashioned, but I strongly believe eating real, live, whole unprocessed foods is a way for optimal health. 

        I wanted to create a diabetic friendly recipe,as a way to use the leftover juice, while i needed the pulp for a recipe. Also because, I had heard that the winter melon was one the best live, positive prana foods. Here is an energizing coolant for the summer that you can enjoy with salt or honey as per your preference.



Ingredients for 1 serving:

3 to 4 cups of grated Ash gourd - squeezed & strained abt 8oz
1/2 tsp, fresh lemon extract
1/4 tsp, salt
1/8 tsp, pepper powder
mint leaves, for garnish
ice cubes (optional)




May 15, 2016

Tangy Beetroot Salad / Beetroot Elumichai Salad

How to make tangy beetroot salad


            Nothing beats the beets to help detox your system. Raw beets tend to give off an earthy aroma. That's why the beets in this salad are semi/flash cooked to make it more appetizing. Add to that, some raw mango, lemon juice, coconut & peanuts; and you got yourself a wonderfully delicious & nutritious side. I found this quick & easy salad recipe in my Isha recipe book. Sending this scrumptious recipe over to CCC# 32: May--Week 2. Give this beetroot salad a try today!




Ingredients for 2 servings:


1 medium sized Beetroot -peeled & grated
1 tsp, Lemon juice
1 tbsp, fresh grated Coconut
2 tbsp, green Mango - grated
1 tbsp, Peanuts (soaked overnight or dry roasted)
½ tsp, Pepper powder
Salt to taste

For the seasoning:

1 tsp, oil
½ tsp, Mustard
½ tsp, Split, husked black gram/Urad dal
¼ tsp, Chickpea/Bengal gram dal
A few shredded curry leaves



May 1, 2016

Almond Jam Macaroons


How to make Almond Jam Macaroons (Gluten & Dairy free)


         I have always loved a recipe which does not use ingredients, that are empty carb. Here is one such recipe, which uses blanched almonds as the main ingredient, that has all kinds of  health aspects in it. If you would like to further cut down on calories, you can skip the jam topping; as the macaroons are sweet enough on their own. I have been making these healthy cookies/macaroons for a couple of years, since the time it was aired on a TV show. Sharing this delightfully chewy & healthy recipe with my friends at CCC# 31: April -- Week 4.




Ingredients for about 20 macaroons:

1.5 cups blanched almonds (How to blanch almonds)
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg white
1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup of your favorite jam
(I used raspberry jam & fig preserves)





April 22, 2016

Blanching Almonds

How to Blanch Almonds

                     
                      Lots of delicious recipes call for blanched almonds. If you haven't blanched before, there is a misconception that, it is a tedious & time consuming process. I assure you; it is not! You may need another set of helping hands, only if you have a ton of almonds, to skin. Here's a step by step pictorials to show you how easy, it really is.

How to blanch almonds:
  • Take the required quantity of whole almonds in a heat proof bowl.
  • Take enough water (to submerge the almonds) in a saucepan & bring it to a rolling boil.
  • Pour boiling hot water onto the almonds & let sit for 2 minutes.
  • Rinse the almonds in cold water, drain & start squeezing the almonds out of their skins. The skin should slip away easily in one piece.
  • Now use them whole or slivered/chopped; as called for in your recipe. If you need to powder the almonds, let them dry before powdering/pulverizing. 


April 9, 2016

Mangai Pachadi / Raw Mango Sweet & Sour Chutney

How to make Mangai/Raw Mango Pachadi


                Chithirai thiru naal/Tamizh Puthaandu or commonly known as Tamil new year's day comes every April. The feast on this day, will invariably include neem flowers, in at least one of the dishes; either veppam poo(neem flower) pachadi, veppam poo rasam or at the very least hidden in the mango pachadi. Adding a small amount of neem flowers to the mango pachadi is the best way to mask its bitterness in the sweet,sour & spicy mango pachadi.

              If you have never tasted or are reluctant to try neem flowers - let me guarantee that using a smaller quantity & frying them in ghee does help a lot with the bitterness. You can also skip those miniature bitter flowers and enjoy your mango (sour & spicy, with a hint of sweetness) pachadi this new years day.

               Your end product might vary in texture, based on the size of the mango chunks and the consistency (as seen in my pictures too).


             இனிய தமிழ் புத்தாண்டு நல்வாழ்த்துக்கள்!!







Ingredients:

1 raw/green mango(about 3 cups) - chopped or shaved without skin
1/4 tbsp, jaggery
1/4 tsp, turmeric powder
salt to taste
1/2 tbsp, dried neem flower (cleaned for impurities) - can add more or skip completely
1 tbsp, ghee

Grind to a fine paste:

2 tbsp, grated coconut
2 green chillies
(sprinkle some water for grinding)

For tempering:

1 tbsp, oil
a pinch of asafoetida
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
a few curry leaves
1 broken, dry red chilli





How to make Mangai/Raw Mango Pachadi, Raw Mango Sweet & Sour Chutney for Tamil new year,



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